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I recently read a tribute posted to Facebook about the late farrier Bob Skradzio. The International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member passed away more than 10 years ago, but is remembered by the countless farriers he impacted through his 60-plus years as a horseshoer. He was a link to industry history — one of the last to work street horses in an urban area who transitioned to a largely recreational riding practice.
He was a popular clinician, sharing nuggets of wisdom during his demonstrations. Decades ago at a University of New Hampshire farrier clinic, Skradzio shared highlights from his lengthy career. He closed this impressive list saying there are 14-year-old clients on his books who know more about shoeing than him. Of course, no teenager has ever surpassed Skradzio’s knowledge of farriery, but this was his way of emphasizing that no matter how experienced and skillful a farrier is, some clients have a false sense of superior aptitude.
Experts in Their Own Mind
In this issue, we summarize a survey of nearly 1,500 horse owners on reasons why they fired their farrier (Page 28). This survey was inspired by one that Bob Smith, another Hall of Fame farrier, conducted decades ago.
Smith’s initial survey provided an assortment of reasons why clients part ways with their farriers. The list focused on reasons in which clients would feel they fired the shoers with cause. We also provided a field for reasons not listed. In this “other” field, some owners assigned blame to…